Rishi Navani’s Epiq Capital targets $150 million second fund amid frenetic tech deal-making

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Epiq Capital founded by Rishi Navani is aiming to close its second India fund of $150 to invest in growth-stage startups, coinciding with the heightened activity in the technology investing space, source said.

After having backed companies like eyewear retailer Lenskart, news aggregation platform Dailyhunt, and health and fitness startup Curefit from its $100 million Fund-I, Epiq is eyeing domestic capital for its new vehicle.

This will be a move away from the strategy of its maiden fund, which was sponsored solely by foreign limited partners, as per sources familiar with the fund’s thinking. “The fund will likely raise 50-50 from domestic and international sponsors this time around,” said a person close to the development.

Epiq started off by buying secondaries in mature tech firms but is now positioning itself as an investor which will typically pick anywhere between a 2% and 8% stake in late-stage tech firms in a mix of primary and secondary shares.

The fund will deploy $10-20 million in these companies. So far it has backed six companies.

Epiq was launched five years ago by Navani, who had cofounded venture capital fund Matrix Partners along with Avnish Bajaj in 2006. While it took a few years for the fund to kick off, since 2018, Epiq has been selectively getting into some of the bigger companies.

The fund picked up a stake in Lenskart when it was valued at $400 million, by buying secondary shares from Chiratae Ventures. The company is now valued at $2.4 billion.

The Mumbai-based firm is currently sitting on 3-5 times return on capital invested from other portfolio firms like Pristyn Care and Dailyhunt as well.

The fundraising by Epiq comes amid a never-seen-before boom in tech investments in India with 28 unicorns — privately-held startups with a valuation of $1 billion or more — being added in the past nine months of this year. Indian startups had raised $25.2 billion till September 9 this year, according to data provider Preqin, compared with $11.2 billion in the whole of 2020.



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